Neuchâtel, September 25th, 2019



Technically in place since 1970, the ban of alligator skins trade in the state of California has to be implemented from January 2020.



The Article 653o of the California Penal Code prohibits the import and trade of parts of alligator or crocodile. This text has already benefited from two moratoriums, the legislative calendar no longer allows action against the implementation. So the ban on trade in parts of alligator or crocodile will be effective from 1 January 2020 in California.

Consequently, the importation and sale of watches equipped with alligator leather or crocodile leather bracelets in California will, from next year, be punishable by $ 1,000 to $ 5,000 fine and up to 6 months imprisonment per violation. The distribution of products to this new requirement must therefore be adapted.

A decision damaging to the protection of the environment ...

According to AQC, the decision taken by the State of California sends a negative message to consumers and to the industry in general, extremely damaging the actions already undertaken by the entire industry.

  • Alligator mississippiensis leather* is today the material with the highest level of traceability in the leather industry. Indeed, all actors are subject to strict requirements under the Washington Convention (CITES). In addition, additional traceability requirements are defined in the AQC specifications applicable to tanneries and Leather Bracelets manufacturers. Compliance with these strict requirements is regularly checked on site by independent auditors.

To these guarantees, AQC is adding further transparency requirements with the RedThread Traceability Project being developed and conducted with the main actors of the entire supply chain: farmers, tanners, bracelet manufacturers and maisons horlogères.

  • In addition, the use of Alligator mississippiensis skins has been one of the most powerful drivers of conservation of the species. The commercial use of skins has enabled the establishment of a fund dedicated to a government program. Regularly quoted as a success by the United Nations and animal welfare associations, it allows authorities, biologists and NGOs to implement the necessary actions to ensure the renewal of the species, the protection of its natural habitat and its good cohabitation with Humans and environment.

... which implies a collaboration of all the supply chain

The decision taken by the State of California does not question the use of the Alligator mississippiensis skins by AQC Members which are one of the safest materials used for the manufacture of bracelets.

However, this ban shows, once again, the need to organize and harmonize transparency and traceability within the concerned players of the supply chain on an objective and scientific basis, which is the mission of AQC.



* 99% of AQC crocodile wristband production is in Alligator mississippiensis (American Alligator)



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Due to COVID-19 virus, AQC has implemented a specific action plan to ensure protection of its employees and limitation of the spread of the virus.

In view of this exceptional situation, AQC has also reduced its activity rate while ensuring the pursuit of a minimal activity on leather bracelet compliance.


Please note that Tanners and Watch Brands Workshops, expected in May, may be organized on line. We kindly ask you to continue to save these dates : Tanners WS May 19 - Watch Brands WS May 26


In solidarity with people affected by the virus and fully mobilized to continue to serve the interest of the leather bracelet safety, we thank you for your understanding and your confidence. 


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California Alligator Ban - the official position of AQC members